On March 4, the Connected Coalition conducted the Behavioral
Health Wellness Fair at the Sacramento State Capitol Building on behalf of
Mental Health America. Connected Coalition, which NAMI California is a partner
of, designed the event to raise awareness and provide educational information focused
on behavioral health topics and partner organizations working on those issues. The
day was kicked off by a powerful line up of legislative speakers and mental
health supporters followed by a behavioral health resource fair with CBO’s
working on related issues. Afterwards, groups led legislative advocacy visits
with the focus of access to behavioral health services and an emphasis on
Mental Health Parity.
District 25 Assembly Member Kansen Chu spoke about
the need to make sure young people have access to mental health services where
they are (on campus) and shared Assembly
Bill 8, which would require at least one mental health professional on all
K-12 campuses, per 400 pupils. Assembly Member Chu also spoke briefly about the
NAMI California-sponsored Assembly
Bill 680, which will require that emergency dispatcher training
requirements be increased to include mental health identification and crisis
intervention training. This legislation would improve the quality of
information provided by dispatchers to officers for emergencies involving
persons with a mental illness, intellectual disabilities, or substance abuse.
District 51 Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo spoke
Bill 46, which would replace derogatory terms in legislation with
more culturally sensitive terms when referring to individuals living with
serious mental illness. Assembly Member Carrillo also talked about access to
treatment for all individuals regardless of immigration status and is currently
focused on making sure we hold our systems accountable. Carrillo encouraged the
audience to continue to educate policymakers by sharing lived experiences and
act as a resource for mental health issues.
Senator Dr. Richard Pan representing
District-6 (Sacramento), spoke about his work as Chair of Subcommittee 3 on
Health and Human Services and recent hearings regarding mental health funding.
Dr. Pan mentioned the importance of making sure we continue to invest dollars
into mental health services, supports, and care. Senator Pan has introduced
legislation to equip teachers with the necessary Youth Mental Health First Aid
Training and address California’s mental health crisis and get students the
services they need to be successful.